Author Topic: That German lager flavor  (Read 72076 times)

Offline Kit B

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Re: That German lager flavor
« Reply #165 on: July 18, 2012, 08:25:56 AM »
I don't live that far from Leos and I still haven't tried any of his beers.  Bummer!

I'm going to pass through Eau Claire on Labor Day weekend.  I think a stop is in order!

I have...You should pick some up, just across the border.
It's delicious!
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Offline udubdawg

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Re: That German lager flavor
« Reply #166 on: July 26, 2012, 07:52:59 PM »
Lazy Monk brewing in Eau Claire.
Correct.

We just opened a tap room a few weeks ago.
Anybody is welcome to stop by.
http://www.lazymonkbrewing.com/
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lazy-Monk-Brewing-LLC/188535614492258


going to bump this up in another shameless plug for Lazy Monk.  Truly excellent dark lager and vienna lager, and thanks for the tour of the brewery a couple hours ago.  Will try to visit again soon.

cheers--
--Michael

Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: That German lager flavor
« Reply #167 on: July 27, 2012, 07:59:42 PM »
Michael,

Thank you for stopping by and traveling all the way from Kansas.
WOW.
That is all I can tell.

See you soon and travel safe.
Na Zdravie

On Tap At The TapRoom:
Bohemian Pilsner
Bohemian Dark Lager
Smoked Bock
MaiBock
American Brown Ale
Marzen
Root beer

Online tschmidlin

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Re: That German lager flavor
« Reply #168 on: July 28, 2012, 10:00:31 AM »
Leos, my Dad will be in Eau Claire tomorrow.  Any recommendations for where he can find your beer?
Tom Schmidlin

Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: That German lager flavor
« Reply #169 on: July 28, 2012, 05:33:25 PM »
Na Zdravie

On Tap At The TapRoom:
Bohemian Pilsner
Bohemian Dark Lager
Smoked Bock
MaiBock
American Brown Ale
Marzen
Root beer

Offline CASK1

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Re: That German lager flavor
« Reply #170 on: August 01, 2012, 03:34:13 PM »
I don't think this topic has come up yet. I've read in numerous places (don't have sources handy) that cooling to secondary lagering temps after a diacetyl rest (or not) should be slow (4 degrees F per day? Don't have the number handy.). How crucial is this? Has anyone compared a "fast cold crash" lager to a slow cooling to lager temps? For those that cool slowly to lager temps, how do you do it? The freezer portion of my lager fridge stores meat and other frozen foods, so I can't raise the temp in the fridge above ~40 without spoiling food (I'm in Florida). I do my best to insulate my fermenter when starting the lager stage, but I'm sure it's cooling a lot faster than what I've read is ideal. However my lagers seem to be just fine. Thoughts?
Cheers!

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: That German lager flavor
« Reply #171 on: August 01, 2012, 04:13:26 PM »
I don't think this topic has come up yet. I've read in numerous places (don't have sources handy) that cooling to secondary lagering temps after a diacetyl rest (or not) should be slow (4 degrees F per day? Don't have the number handy.). How crucial is this? Has anyone compared a "fast cold crash" lager to a slow cooling to lager temps? For those that cool slowly to lager temps, how do you do it? The freezer portion of my lager fridge stores meat and other frozen foods, so I can't raise the temp in the fridge above ~40 without spoiling food (I'm in Florida). I do my best to insulate my fermenter when starting the lager stage, but I'm sure it's cooling a lot faster than what I've read is ideal. However my lagers seem to be just fine. Thoughts?
Cheers!

You have cleaned up the beer with the elevated D-rest. You can crash it down. You could go down slowly, but what is the point as the yeast have cleaned up.

I will continue to link to Kai's site, even though he is back.  ;) The profile F is what I am talking about. Lower right of all the graphs.
http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Fermenting_Lagers#Maturation_of_the_beer

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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: That German lager flavor
« Reply #172 on: August 02, 2012, 07:32:07 PM »
I pick up a couple growlers each time I pass through on my way up to the northern WI fishing lake.  Great stuff with the new tap room.  I'll try to schedule my October trip for a time when your tap roomi is open. 

Congrats Leo's on your continued success as you build almost literally in the shadow of the Leinenkugel brewery.
Hodge Garage Brewing: "Brew with a glad heart!"

Offline beersk

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Re: That German lager flavor
« Reply #173 on: August 03, 2012, 06:51:53 AM »


Congrats Leo's on your continued success as you build almost literally in the shadow of the Leinenkugel brewery.
I'm sure it's MUCH better beer too.  Haven't liked Leinenkugel's beer for a long time, it's a funk to it.
Watch out for those Cross Dressing Amateurs!

Jesse

Offline Kaiser

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Re: That German lager flavor
« Reply #174 on: August 05, 2012, 05:32:38 AM »
I read through all the posts here and have a few comments.

I don't think there is any single thing or procedure that causes this German Lager flavor. I believe it is a combination of things and simply a product how Germans brew beer. However, German brewing practices today are very much different from what we think. Most beer is mass produced, especially the big brands like Bittburger, Warsteiner, Radeberger ... Even most of the local brands are produced the same way. Most breweries in Germany are either owned by InBev or the Radeberger Gruppe, which is is part of Dr Oetker, a conglomerate that started out as a baking powder company.

A few month back I got pointed to a very good German TV documentary that highlighted how German beer had lost its way. For posterity, here is the link (http://www.zdf.de/ZDFmediathek/beitrag/video/1656374/ZDFzoom-Hopfen-und-Malz-verloren!#/beitrag/video/1656374/ZDFzoom-Hopfen-und-Malz-verloren) there are a few German speakers on this forum for which that might be useful.

I just came back from a trip through the northern part of Germany and I have to admit that most beers in Germany do taste rather bland these days.

Beers brewed in southern Germany tend to be better. For one, they have a better beer culture down there and there is also a bit more variety. Especially when it comes to Weissbier.

As for the brewing processes that can give this characteristic German flavor, I don't think that decoction has anything to do with it. Most German beers are made w/o decoction and I have made many decocted beers that I would say have that German taste. This is not to say that decoction doesn't make a difference, lets leave this for a different discussion.

Warm vs. cold maturation rest? A few times I have tried the cold maturation rest, i.e. where the beer is slowly cooled after primary fermentation is done. The biggest problem was that I ended up stalling fermentation and the beer did not attenuate as expected. These days I often raise the maturation rest temp to 70 F for a week in order to make sure the beer fully attenuates before cold conditioning. The complete fermentation is more important than doing a cold maturation (a.k.a. diacetyl) rest. When I say complete fermentation I mean getting close to the attenuation from the FFT, especially for a Pilsner. A Schwarzbier can be a few attenuation percentage points off and a Doppebock can show 4%-6% lower attenuation than its FFT. Simply judging complete fermentation by the absence of activity may not be accurate enough. The low fermentable sugar content, that you get when the beer ferments to the attenuation of its FFT, is important to get a very drinkable beer.

One major factor in getting the German flavor is the aroma of the beer. German beers have a very subtle aroma. These days many beers don't seem to have any aroma since brewers skimp on good aroma hops. But even the good examples don't have a strong hop aroma. If hops dominate the aroma, its never like sticking your nose in a bag of hops. Instead the hop aroma is more refined. This comes from the fact that German brewers don't add hops late. Even aroma hops are added with 10-15 boil time to go. According to a number of sources I have come across the hop aroma compounds oxidize in the boiling wort and create less volatile compounds. This leads me directly to FWH. FWH doesn't appear to be common in German brewing, but I have had great success with getting that German hop profile into my Pilsner and Helles by using FWH.

Another important part is smooth bitterness and for that I strongly believe that the Kraeusen should not be allowed to fall back into the beer. I make sure that it blows off. Even if that means I have to add more sanitized wort after I realized that I didn't fill my carboy enough to get a blow-off. When I don't do this the bitterness gets a harsh character.

I also started experimenting with CO2 hop extract. The gooey hop resin that NB sells as the Hopshot. A few years back I bought a 150g can and put it into syringes. I know that the use of hop extract is frowned upon among beer geeks, but hop extract is able to add bitterness w/o bringing vegetal matter into the boil that can lead to increased tannins. I have not done a side-by side between a classic bitterning hop like Magnum and hop extract.

While I do have a number of thoughts on this topic, I haven't found that perfect procedure that will always give you the authentic German taste. There are too many variables that would have to be evaluated. Just be open to experimentation and start trying things that you haven't tried yet. This obviously implies that you can brew a clean beer repeatedly and that you brewing process is not plagued by more straight forward issues.

Kai

Offline denny

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Re: That German lager flavor
« Reply #175 on: August 05, 2012, 09:39:49 AM »
Great info!  Thanks for your thoughts, Kai.
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Offline The Professor

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Re: That German lager flavor
« Reply #176 on: August 05, 2012, 06:40:25 PM »
Kai...that was a great post.  Thanks for weighing in!
AL
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Offline bluesman

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That German lager flavor
« Reply #177 on: August 05, 2012, 07:05:01 PM »
Interesting points Kai. One of the things that you made mention to was large scale brewing in Germany and it's effects on beer flavor. We are brewing on a much smaller scale which can be a factor in the fermentation.

There may be some credence to the effects of vessel geometry and how it can affect beer flavor. For example, the pressure that is on the yeast during fermentation and how that can effect the esters produced or lack there of. Troughs vs conical, etc..

I think fermentation schedule and process are  major factors in German brewing. Temperature, yeast handling, vessel geometry and time are all key variables in the production of German beer or any beer for that matter.
Ron Price

Offline Kaiser

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Re: That German lager flavor
« Reply #178 on: August 05, 2012, 07:36:26 PM »
There may be some credence to the effects of vessel geometry and how it can affect beer flavor. For example, the pressure that is on the yeast during fermentation and how that can effect the esters produced or lack there of. Troughs vs conical, etc..

Yes, that is probably the most difficult aspect to mimic. One could try pressurized primary fermentation, which has been done on the home brewing scale.

However, I think it is possible to get to this German flavor even w/o big fermenters. For the longest time I thought the 7 day primary fermentation at 8 C is only possible b/c of the strong circulations in larger fermenters until I saw in a paper that the same primary fermentation time can also be achieved in 20 l fermenters.

Kai

Offline mabrungard

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Re: That German lager flavor
« Reply #179 on: August 06, 2012, 05:37:33 AM »
I've read conflicting accounts about pressurized fermentation.  I had originally heard that elevated pressure helped suppress ester production.  That is a good thing in a lager.  But then I heard that yeast should ferment at atmospheric pressure for better performance (I'm not sure what performance they were alluding too).  My conical is set up to allow pressurization of up to about 12 inches of water column.  I haven't tried any more than several inches so far.  I'm curious if others have evaluated the effect of pressurized ferments?
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